Introduction to the SCAN Policies Database

The State Child Abuse and Neglect (SCAN) Policies Database compiles data on the definitions and policies that states use in their surveillance of child maltreatment, along with data on associated risk and protective factors. The SCAN Policies Database is funded by the Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation in collaboration with the Children’s Bureau in the Administration for Children and Families at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The project team is led by Mathematica in partnership with Child Trends.

 

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation

The Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation (OPRE) is an office within the Administration for Children & Families (ACF), a division of the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). ACF promotes the economic and social well-being of families, children, individuals, and communities. OPRE studies ACF programs and the populations they serve through rigorous research and evaluation projects. These include evaluations of existing programs, evaluations of innovative approaches to helping low-income children and families, research syntheses, and descriptive and exploratory studies.

 

Mathematica

Mathematica is the insight partner that illuminates the path to progress for public- and private-sector changemakers. We apply expertise at the intersection of data, methods, policy, and practice, translating big questions into deep insights that weather the toughest tests. Driven by our mission to improve public well-being, we collaborate closely with our clients to improve programs, refine strategies, and enhance understanding.

Our more than 1,400 experts work across the country and around the globe, partnering with federal agencies, state and local governments, foundations, universities, professional associations, and businesses. Mathematica is reimagining the way the world gathers and uses data, surfacing evidence that guides decisions in areas ranging from health, education, child welfare, and family support to nutrition, employment, disability, criminal justice, and international development.

 

Background

Although federal law is the foundation of the child welfare system, states drive much of the structure of their own systems. The Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA) (42 U.S.C.A. § 5106g), as amended in 2010, identifies certain acts or behaviors as child maltreatment. States must comply with the broader CAPTA definitions, but within those parameters, states have their own legal definitions. State laws—and the policies states set to enforce these laws—have different definitions of child abuse and neglect and different policies for reporting and responding to child maltreatment.

 

Purpose

The project’s purpose is to review and compile information from selected definitions and policies in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, to create a database of those definitions and policies (the SCAN Policies Database) that can be used for analysis.

The database is a resource for researchers, analysts, and others who are interested in examining differences between states in their definitions and policies on child maltreatment. A primary benefit of these data is to allow researchers to link the analytic files to other data sources, such as the National Child Abuse and Neglect Data System (NCANDS), the Adoption and Foster Care Analysis and Reporting System (AFCARS), other federal and state administrative data, and survey data.  When data from the SCAN Policies Database are linked with other data sources, the linked data can be used to answer important questions about how variations in states’ definitions and policies are associated with the incidence of child maltreatment, the child welfare system response, and ultimately, the safety and well-being of children.

Information may have changed from the time of data collection and publication of the data, along with instructions about how users can check for the latest information from source documents.

 

Project Leadership

Office of Planning, Research, and Evaluation Administration for Children and Families

Christine Fortunato, Contracting Officer’s Representative

Mary Mueggenborg, Contracting Officer’s Representative

 

Mathematica

Elizabeth Weigensberg, Project Director

Nuzhat Islam, Deputy Project Director

 

Child Trends

Jessica Dym Bartlett, Subcontractor Technical Lead

 

Contact us: For general inquiries and data users who access the data from this website can submit a request to SCANPoliciesDatabase@mathematica-mpr.com